HARTFORD – A possible state-imposed moratorium on wind energy passed the House of Representatives by a landslide.
House Bill 6249, which would suspend all pending wind turbine projects until regulations could be established, passed the full House by a 132-6 vote Tuesday. State Representative John Rigby, whose district includes Colebrook, supported the bill, in part due to his hometown’s concerns – the two proposed wind farms that could be built within its borders.
“The situation in Colebrook, with two proposed sites, highlighted the need for regulations to be adopted,” Rigby said.
Roberta Willis, who represents the 64th District, was one of 13 Representatives absent for the vote.
The bill would immediately suspend pending wind turbine proposals until regulations could be drafted. Specifically, the bill calls for regulations on setbacks, consideration of tower height and distance from neighboring properties, flicker, a requirement for the developer to decommission the facility at the end of its useful life, project size consideration, ice throw, blade shear and impact on natural resources. An noisevamendment passed earlier Tuesday.
“The bill’s not an attempt to interfere with the Siting Council,” Rigby said, “but an attempt to have the regulations laid out before a decision’s made on these installations.”
Rigby added that while there is apprehension to meddle in the affairs of the Connecticut Siting Council, the committee will be one of three bodies charged with helping to draft the regulations. The Department of Public Utility Control and Department of Environmental Protection will also be involved in the regulation process – as will the public.
“Representative (Vickie) Nardello had a lot of input and support from her constituents,” Rigby said of the Energy Committee chair and sponsor of the bill.
Rigby added that there will be three public hearings on the bill for the purpose of soliciting input, “which will be very important.” While the process of drafting regulations could take a year, Rigby said he was hopeful that the regulatory process could be completed sooner. Rigby also anticipated that the Senate would pass the bill and Governor Dannel Malloy would sign it into law. Gov. Malloy briefly touched on the topic during a Feb. 25 town hall meeting in Torrington, stating, “I think they need to develop regulations very rapidly” if the bill passed.
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